LOOKING AHEAD FOR THE PROGRESSIVE WING

    Okay, I can feel good about what I have harped on for the past several months has come to roost for the Democrats. I feel really lousy though because of the failed results of the elections and major initiatives. The Democrats and President Obama have been asleep at the wheel since November of ’08 and it has cost them. They have wandered aimlessly through the processes and have opened so many doors for the extreme right to pounce. And they have. In Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts they were way outsmarted, outworked, out- organized, and most importantly outvocalized. On health care reform, the President dragged his feet, the Republicans in Congress obstructed, and the Democrats fought amongst themselves. These delays opened the door for the wing-nuts to take away the populist sentiment, the very one that brought Obama into office, they held their anti-government racist rallies, they disrupted town hall meetings, even spread lies, “death panels” and “birthers”. They got America’s attention and now more support.

    Now for the fix. We need to start at the top. President Obama needs to stop his fixation with bipartisanship. It’s not going to happen. The Republicans hate everything he stands for and will do everything in their power to bring him down. Even when the progressives were angered over Obama’s escalation of the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan, the conservatives railed it was not enough and it took him to long to act. The right tore into Obama for taking three days to discuss the undie boy bomber, even though it took Bush six days to discuss the shoe bomber. They blamed Obama for everything wrong with that episode. Research shows the main problem with that part of our national security system is a decades long problem of our agencies not communicating with each other. Some kind of dumb-ass pride or selfishness issues. Bush I couldn’t fix it, Clinton couldn’t fix it, Bush II couldn’t fix it, and now it’s all Obama’s fault. If Obama gets it fixed, merges all matters of national security under one entity with one person accountable, he should be considered a hero. The Republicans will claim it took him too long.

    The White House needs a new direction. Get rid of Emanuel and the rest of the “Chicago gang” and bring in people who know Washington, have contacts, and know how to get things done. I suggest Tom Daschle as chief of staff and David Gergen on the team. They need to accentuate the positives, talk up their successes of the first year, Obama had the highest percentage of his desired legislation passed in his first year than any President of the modern era. He needs to re-engage his base. They have been absent for too long. They are the progressive populist seeking people who elected him and his agenda. Start a full court press to go after Wall Street and the banking industries. The only major bills approved with bipartisan support was TARP. Both parties are responsible for its failings. These financial entities took our tax money, turned their business around to be the most profitable ever, and rewarded themselves!  They didn’t voluntarily repay the debt, they rewarded themselves. They didn’t loosen up lending for small business, which was the purpose of TARP to begin with. These institutions went for the jugular. They denied loan applications, closed lines of credit with their customers, and jacked the interest rates on credit cards and personal loans to the highest levels ever. This is a populist issue that demands attention from the administration. The TARP recipients,  insurance and banking industries are the ones that finance all the Republicans in Congress. They spend billions lobbying in Washington. Obama needs to demand payment or impose huge fines and penalties. At the same time, how about initiating strong language proposals for lobbying and campaign reform. That in itself, will take care of 50% of our country’s economic problems. Remember the economy collapsed mostly from greed and deceit by the industries and politicians looking the other way. Get after them both, hard and quickly. The progressive base will come back. Take care of the rest of your large campaign promises. Like gays in the military, etc.

    The administration has to start showing some back-bone and initiating process. The President needs to start carrying himself as the CEO of the United States. Take stands and back them up. Never mind bipartisanship. It won’t work and it will bog you down.  Any legislation that is initiated by the White House or Congressional Democrats needs to be brought to the floor and let the republicans filibuster for as long as they want. It will backfire on them, just as it did when they tried it during the Clinton administration. They will prove themselves as the party of “NO”, and as renegade obstructionists. Obstructionists’ sole purpose is to obstruct with no interest in offering alternative options, which the Republicans have done with health care so far.

   The Democratic party needs an overhaul. They are stale and listing along. Bring in Howard Dean now. He brings energy, he connects with the base, and knows how to reach out the conservative democrats and independents. The Democrats need a “national strategy” for this fall and it needs to start rolling now. The party must be involved in management, organization, people, including the candidate selection, platform formulation, and strategy. All candidates need to be coached to stress the positives of the party. Do not get in the mud with the right-wingers because they will beat you at soiling. Stress the progressive populist agenda. Because the President won’t do it, the DNC needs to prevail upon the Congressional Democrats to give up on the health care reform bill formulation now. After fumble-fucking your way through the past nine months with it, the country is sick of it and won’t support you on it. Come back with trying to pass important segments of  a program like eliminating pre-existing conditions, cross state lines to buy insurance, throw the right a bone with medical tort reform, etc. Obama screwed this whole thing up, so the party needs to take him out of it.

    The progressive wing needs to start getting aggressive with getting their messages out. They can’t back down in Congress. Challenge the right on their inability to propose anything positive for the country. Let them filibuster any or all bills up for vote. Don’t attack them on it, let America decide. The Democrats will be able to do better in November if they just let the Republicans continue to be led by the extreme right and doing what their leadership, Limbaugh, Beck et al, want them to do. Let’s keep our heads up, be optimistic and keep pushing the progressive agenda. This is what America wants and needs and we as solid committed Americans are proud to push ahead. Thank you.

Cam Obert

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